Schumer sets up key vote on bipartisan deal

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck Schumer'The Squad' celebrates Biden eviction moratorium Overnight Health Care: Florida becomes epicenter of COVID-19 surge | NYC to require vaccination for indoor activities | Biden rebukes GOP governors for barring mask mandates National Organization for Women calls for Cuomo resignation MORE (D-N.Y.) on Thursday said the Senate will vote to open debate on the bipartisan infrastructure deal Wednesday, setting up a key test vote on the legislation.

"Today I'm announcing that I intend to file cloture on the vehicle for the bipartisan infrastructure bill on Monday of next week," Schumer said from the Senate floor.

Because the bipartisan group doesn't actually have a bill, Schumer will file cloture on a shell bill that senators will later swap the bipartisan legislation into. The bill will need 60 votes to get over Wednesday's initial hurdle. If every Democrat votes to advance it, something that isn't certain, that means Democrats would need at least 10 GOP votes.


"Senators will have until Wednesday of next week before the initial vote on cloture on the motion to proceed. Everyone has been having productive conversations and it's important to keep the two-track process moving. All parties involved in the bipartisan infrastructure bill talks must now finalize their agreement so that the Senate can begin considering that legislation next week," Schumer said. 

Wednesday is also the deadline Schumer has set for Democrats to be ready to "move forward" on a separate budget resolution that tees up $3.5 trillion in spending. The party hopes to pass its budget and the budget reconciliation package with just Democratic votes.

Schumer's strategy, announced on the Senate floor, is a hardball strategy to try to force agreement on advancing Democrats biggest legislative priority before Congress leaves for August.

Schumer is pushing the bipartisan group to finalize their deal on a bill worth $1.2 trillion over eight years as they continue to work through final hurdles.

And because the bipartisan bill is linked to Democrats' separate reconciliation plan — which will allow them to bypass the 60-vote filibuster on the $3.5 trillion legislation — Schumer's decision is also aimed at forcing Democrats to coalesce behind the budget resolution, which needs all 50 Democratic senators and Vice President Harris to break a tie in order to pass.

"I am setting the same deadline next Wednesday for the entire Senate Democratic Caucus to agree to move forward on the budget resolution with reconciliation instructions. The time has come to make progress," he said.


The bipartisan group is still working to finalize its infrastructure deal, and GOP members of the gang appeared skeptical their caucus would agree to advance even a shell bill that would allow debate to get started.

Members of the bipartisan group are hoping to untangle their remaining sticking points by the end of Thursday, but acknowledged that deadline is fluid and they would still need to finish drafting and get a Congressional Budget Office cost estimate of their legislation.

“I think there’s a lot of drafting that has to be done, and there are still a number of outstanding issues that have to be resolved,” said Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyGraham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate finalizes .2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Senators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session MORE (R-Utah), a member of the bipartisan group. “I would think it would be a dereliction of duty to vote for a bill that hasn’t been drafted yet.”

Sen. Mike RoundsMike RoundsSeven-figure ad campaign urges GOP to support infrastructure bill Graham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate White House cyber chief backs new federal bureau to track threats MORE (R-S.D.) indicated that his goal was to have the bipartisan bill finished before the end of the July work period, which runs through early August. And Sen. Bill CassidyBill CassidyGraham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate Senators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Optimism grows that infrastructure deal will get to Biden's desk MORE (R-La.) warned against enforcing arbitrary deadlines.

“You can’t just say, 'OK, deadline.’” Cassidy said.

The Hill previously reported that the bipartisan bill could hit the floor as soon as the week of July 19 – something Schumer’s strategy lines up with.

Asked about Schumer's timeline, Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerOvernight Defense: Police officer killed in violence outside Pentagon | Biden officials back repeal of Iraq War authorization | NSC pushed to oversee 'Havana Syndrome' response One officer dead after violent incident outside Pentagon Bipartisan bill would create NSC position to oversee 'Havana syndrome' response MORE (D-Va.), a member of the bipartisan group and the Budget Committee, was noncommittal.

“We’ll see,” he said.

Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinThe infrastructure bill creates more need for workforce training The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by AT&T - Simone wins bronze with altered beam routine Jesse Jackson arrested with voting rights protesters at Capitol MORE (D-W.Va.), a member of the bipartisan group, said he hadn’t heard the Wednesday deadline but suggested he viewed it as more of a goal.

“That keeps everybody moving,” he said. 

That means the bipartisan bill will move before the Democratic budget resolution. Schumer and members of the Senate Budget Committee Democrats, led by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries Briahna Joy Gray: Voters are 'torn' over Ohio special election Shontel Brown wins Ohio Democratic primary in show of establishment strength MORE (I-Vt.), announced on Tuesday night that they had reached a deal on a $3.5 trillion top-line figure.  

But Democrats still need to craft the details of their resolution, which paves the way for them to pass a second infrastructure package along party lines. Sanders said on Thursday that he did not have a timeline for when he expected to have finalized text. 


Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterGraham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate This week: Senate starts infrastructure sprint Senators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session MORE (D-Mont.), a key centrist, said on Thursday that he would vote to take up the budget resolution but didn’t know if he would support approving it on a final vote, where they will need all 50 Democrats.

“I haven’t seen it and neither have you guys,” Tester told reporters asked about the budget resolution. 

Updated at 2:14 p.m.